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New project leader Maury Bedford poses for a photo in front of a stand of pine trees.
Information icon Project leader Maury Bedford. Photo by USFWS.

Maury Bedford named project leader for North Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has appointed Louisiana native Maury Bedford as the new leader for the five National Wildlife Refuges in North Louisiana.

Bedford started in September and says he wants to follow in the footsteps of managers before him to promote the National Wildlife Refuge System, and keep the community and residents of North Louisiana well-informed of the benefits of wildlife conservation.  He wants to expand and develop new ideas to work alongside other partners for conservation and wildlife-related recreational opportunities like hunting, fishing, and birdwatching.

“In my youth, I worked on the family farm, hunted and fished the hills of Lincoln Parish, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to get a job doing something I loved to do,” said Bedford.  “Working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on National Wildlife Refuges has proven to be the best thing I can do to combine my passion for wildlife and conservation with my education and training.”

He will be in charge of D’Arbonne, Upper Ouachita, Handy Brake, Black Bayou Lake, and Red River National Wildlife Refuges.

For the last three years Maury has served in the Regional Office in Atlanta, first as Assistant Deputy Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, then as the Deputy Refuge Supervisor and Acting Refuge Supervisor for Florida and the Caribbean. 

“Maury Bedford’s wide array of experiences across Southeast field stations and then leadership roles at a regional level in Atlanta make him very well qualified for the job,” said David Viker, Regional Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System.  “What I know will ensure his success though is his calm demeanor, common sense, and collaborative spirit.“ 

Maury, a 26-year veteran of federal natural resource agencies, also served in the field as the Project Leader for the Gulf Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Mississippi and Alabama, guiding those refuges through the Gulf oil spill, land protection efforts, and field operations, including prescribed fire, invasive exotics removal, endangered species management, and visitor services and outreach.

Prior to that assignment, Maury served as the Deputy Project Leader for Okefenokee and Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuges in Georgia, and also as Deputy Project Leader at Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana.  He started with the Service as the Assistant Refuge Manager at St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi.  

Before he began his 17-year career with the Fish and Wildlife Service, Maury worked with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services for nine years as a Lead Biologist for state programs in New York, and later in Missouri, Iowa and Illinois, where he was responsible for field operations, programmatic Environmental Assessments, and management plans.

He was born in Lincoln Parish and grew up in Grambling, Louisiana.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Grambling State University, and attended Louisiana Tech University, and Tennessee Tech University.

Maury and his wife Melissa, who relocated to North Louisiana in September, enjoy bike riding, hiking, canoeing, hunting, and fishing.  They have two grown sons, Shawn, 26, and Maurtin, 21, and two grandsons and look forward to passing along hunting and fishing traditions to the next generation. 

A hundred years in the making, the National Wildlife Refuge system is a network of habitats that benefits wildlife, provides unparalleled outdoor experiences for all Americans, and protects a healthy environment.  Today, there are more than 560 national wildlife refuges1 and 38 wetland management districts, including one within an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas.  The refuges provide habitat for more than 700 species of birds, 220 species of mammals, 250 reptile and amphibian species and more than 1,000 species of fish.  More than 380 threatened or endangered plants or animals are protected on wildlife refuges. Each year, millions of migrating birds use refuges as stepping stones while they fly thousands of miles between their summer and winter homes.


Phil Kloer, 404-679-7299

Maury Bedford, 318-726-4222

  1. November 7, 2017 update: The refuge system has grown to more than 566 national wildlife refuges spanning approximately 100 million acres of lands and 750 million acres of oceans in the United States. [return]

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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